Burton, Coogan reelected in Oak Bluffs

Voters mark their ballots at the Oak Bluffs poll Thursday. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Oak Bluffs voters returned incumbents Kathy Burton and Greg Coogan to their seats on the board of selectmen, in victories that both selectmen called an endorsement of the town’s improving financial picture.

Ms. Burton topped the ballot with 611 votes, followed by Mr. Coogan with 580 votes in last Thursday’s election.

Roger Wey, director of the council on aging and a former selectmen who served seven consecutive terms before choosing not to seek reelection in 2009, was third. He got 371 votes.

Eight hundred ninety-one residents, 24.4 percent of the town’s 3,245 registered voters, participated.

“I’m very glad the voters have confidence in the work that Greg and I have been doing,” Ms. Burton said. “I look forward to working with the rest of the board to continue that.”

“Kathy’s and my reelection lets us know the voters appreciate what’s happening,” Mr. Coogan said. “We appear to be heading in the right direction. We’ll continue to watch the finances of the town.”

Town officials announced the results at the Oak Bluffs Library meeting room, shortly after the polls closed at 7 pm, Thursday.

Voting was interrupted shortly after noon when an automatic fire alarm activated in response to an electrical burnout, according to acting library director Sondra Murphy. The library and polls were evacuated.

The Oak Bluffs fire department responded and checked the area with heat-sensing devices, declared the area safe, and reopened the building.

Town clerk Deborah Ratcliff said the polls were closed for approximately 45 minutes. Town constable David DeOliveira remained in the building to make sure the ballot box was secure.

Fire department and library personnel treated the situation very seriously, but afterward they couldn’t resist having a little fun.

“We have a very hot election,” fire Chief Pete Forend said as he left the scene.

Future goals

Mr. Coogan will serve a fourth term as selectman. Before the race, he noted building consensus, moving the town in a positive direction, and regionalizing services as his priorities for the next three years.

Ms. Burton will serve a second term. She named improving the town’s financial stability, infrastructure and capital improvement planning, and a cooperative and inclusive process of government as her goals.

The selectman contest was the only contested race in the annual town election.

Elected or reelected unopposed were Jesse Law 3rd as moderator with 692 votes; William White to the board of health with 652 votes; Mr. Law as cemetery commissioner with 660 votes; Allan deBettencourt as park commissioner with 640 votes; Kris Chvatal to the planning board with 567 votes; Kristine O’Brien to the school committee with 597 votes.

Voters reelected Steven Auerbach to the finance and advisory committee with 568 votes. Also elected to that committee were newcomers John Boardman (519 votes), and Raymond Taylor (502 votes).

Joseph deBettencourt was elected tree warden with 658 votes; Hans von Steiger as wastewater commissioner with 533 votes; George Warren as constable with 593 votes; and Kevin Johnson as water district commissioner with 641 votes.

The article was updated to clarify that the library’s automatic fire alarm system activated the alarm.